Writing what you know: the shoe edition

Writing what you know.

It’s the topic of blog posts, articles, seminars, workshops, conventions, chapters in books, whole books. You get the picture. They say (whoever they is) your best writing will be what you know. Or, along those same lines, your passion.

I’m currently writing about the Civil War because, as I’m sure you’ve already figured out, I’m crazy passionate about the Civil War. And here’s what I can tell you about the Civil War.

It’s a bitch to run in shoes like this.

Lady’s shoes

Yes, kids, those sexy legs you see before you are mine. And that awesome shoe/stocking combo? Those are the finery I deck myself out in when I reenact or do a living history. I usually wear calf length, split leg drawers, but for the purpose of this post I opted not to wear them.


But yeah, let’s talk about shoes, action scenes, and writing what you know. I know from experience that running through grass or down the sidewalk in these shoes is a bad idea. The soles are smooth. There’s no traction. None at all.

Back in the day, The Hubs and I volunteered at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. One of my friends, Kate, was giving a walking tour of the town and slid down one of the steep streets (Public Way, for those of you in the know) in shoes like this, landing in a heap of hoops and skirts on the sidewalk. The Hubs, too, reports he has slipped a few times in his brogans when reenacting. He would like me to add that he has NEVER FALLEN.

Soldier’s brogan

These are the shoes The Hubs wears. And, yes, those metal, horseshoe like pieces on the heel are period correct. They are for traction. They also make an endearing “clack” noise on pavement like tap shoes. The Hubs does not find this comparison funny.

Anyway, the point of all this; other than to show off my fantastic legs? The point is, knowing all this nonsense about period shoes-about how they slide in the grass or how I have to lace them before I put on my corset, or else I can’t bend over-will add extra little details in my writing. Sure, it’s probably going to amount to like, one sentence in my novel, but it’s going to be one awesome sentence.

Not that I have time to write. This past week was the queen of worst weeks. Awful. I’ve been busier than all get out the past two days. And normally I get writing done after the kids go to bed, but tonight–no, tonight–the dummies across the street are setting off firecrackers, effectively keeping me from doing anything other than sit on the couch. I’m blogging, true, and I’m watching Oddities: San Francisco (which, by the way, I’m not impressed). But I’m just waiting for my house to get hit by a firework. Really people? Drag racing your stupid pick up trucks down the road at 3am isn’t enough? Now you have to have explosives?

I have wandered so off topic.

But hey, one thing I accomplished this week? Got my vacation days set for Antietam in September. Who’s got two thumbs and is super stoked? This gal. My awesome yet slippery shoes and I are ready. Are you?


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